PHARMACY

Senator says he will examine Avastin pricing by Genentech

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., has said that the biotech company Genentech’s plan to limit the availability of Avastin, which is used for the treatment of colorectal cancer, will cost taxpayers $1 billion to $3 billion per year, according to TheNewYorkTimes.

The company is restricting the availability of the drug so that doctors will have to use their more expensive medication, Lucentis. The drugs are chemically similar and since the price difference is so great, doctors have been using the cheaper Avastin.

Kohl said in letters to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration that Genentech’s decision to limit access to the medicine by pharmacies that repackage drugs “is of great concern.”

He also sent the company a letter saying that his staff would investigate the restrictions.

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IMPAX announces limited resumption of sales of oxycodone

BY Drew Buono

STAMFORD, Conn. IMPAX Laboratories and its distributor DAVA Pharmaceuticals will resume sales of its oxycodone hydrochloride extended-release tablets in a limited capacity starting today.

This is in response to an agreement the companies signed with Purdue Pharma, who manufactures the brand version, Oxycontin, which is used for the management of moderate to severe pain when a continuous around-the-clock analgesic is needed for an extended period of time. The agreement said that IMPAX acknowledged that Purdue’s patents for Oxycontin were valid, enforceable and infringed on by their generic version. Purdue in return, allowed the companies to continue selling the product on the market until June 14, and to resume the distribution at a future date for a limited period of time.

The sales of the generic are expected to continue until around Jan. 28, 2008, or until the company’s sales quota under the license agreement with Purdue has been reached.

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Isis grants Excaliard license for development of antisense drugs

BY Drew Buono

CARLSBAD and ENCINITAS, Calif. Isis and Excaliard Pharmaceuticals have entered into an agreement to discover and develop antisense drugs for the local treatment of fibrotic diseases, including scarring. Isis has granted Excaliard an exclusive worldwide license for the development and commercialization of certain antisense drugs.

Under the agreement, Excaliard made an upfront payment in the form of equity and paid $1 million cash to Isis for the licensing of a particular gene target. Isis will also be eligible to receive development milestones and royalties on antisense drugs developed by Excaliard.

“Isis has made superb progress in the development of second-generation antisense drugs over the last few years, as evidenced by its clinical pipeline and current collaborations with companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Ortho-McNeil, among others,” said Excaliard co-founder J. Gordon Foulkes, acting chief executive officer for Excaliard and managing director of RiverVest Venture Partners. “Having access to Isis’ antisense technology and expertise provides a great opportunity for Excaliard.”

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